Carne de Vinha d’Alhos: Portugal Day 2010

Upon researching Portugese cuisine, I noticed that most of the national dishes are a delightful blend of mouth watering surf and turf combinations… the only problem is that quality “surf” is a little hard to come by in Bulgaria. It is true that we do have access to the Black Sea, but I was looking something more from the Atlantic coast. Being that I had some ingredient constraints, I stuck with turf. I chose a pork based dish Carne de Vinha dAlhos, which translate to meat with wine and garlic. In Portugal the most common meats for this dish are pork and rabbit and this meal is usually served around Christmas time, but I like to feel festive all year round. Interesting note about this dish, is that it was the basis for the popular Indian delight Vindaloo.

I found my recipe on Ana Patuleia Ortin’s Portugese Cooking, which I adapted slightly.


2 lb (1kg) pork butt, cut into 2 inch cubes
1/2 cup (115ml) white wine
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, smashed

Combine the meat, wine, vinegar and garlic. Toss and chill for up to three days.

Maya was my little helper in preparing the marinade.

1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 tsp cumin (toast whole seeds, then ground)
1 tsp chili pepper
2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup (115ml) dry red wine
1 cup (230ml) water

Drain the marinade from the meat and let dry on a paper towel to ensure proper browning.

Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Working in small batches brown the meat on all sides.

After 3 – 4 minutes on medium-high heat.

Transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside. Add wine to the pot, deglaze the pan, add the meat and all remaining ingredients.

Cover and let simmer on low heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Serve with potatoes or rice and some nice crusty bread to sop up the juices.

The flavors in this dish were quite pronounced, but it really was better suited for the fall or winter climate. The hardiness of the meat and potatoes didn’t capture the warm spring weather. My husband even suggested it needed more veggies… maybe carrots and pea. I will definitely make this dish as the weather begins to chill.

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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria

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